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ACHP and Department of Energy

The Department of Energy (DOE) appreciates its responsibility for the historic buildings under its ownership, and acknowledges the potential impact of its programs on historic resources. As the steward of some of the twentieth century’s most historically significant resources, DOE maintains an active historic preservation program, in its Office of History and Heritage Resources. The Chief Historian serves as the DOE’s Federal Preservation Officer (FPO), as mandated by Section 110(c) of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA). Skip Gosling, the FPO, works within the agency to ensure that Section 106 issues are addressed in a timely manner. DOE is currently working on a new initiative involving the preservation and interpretation of DOE’s Cold War-era sites, facilities, and artifacts.

Establishing Partnership with ACHP and creating a DOE Liaison at the ACHP
Recognizing the importance of partnerships to accomplish its responsibilities under the NHPA, DOE established a formal partnership with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) in August of 2009. In preparation for the dramatic increase of projects to receive funds from the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the new partnership would provide a more comprehensive means to identify opportunities and tools to handle the workload for Section 106. The agencies’ goals were to provide predictable, consistent, and clear advice and guidance while ensuring the timeliness of Section 106 reviews for grant programs under DOE’s Office of Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs (OWIP). To achieve these goals, a new liaison staff position was created for DOE within the ACHP, in the Office of Federal Agency Programs. In October of 2009, the DOE Liaison, Lee Webb, began working with DOE and senior management at the ACHP to identify compliance strategies and ways to achieve the agencies’ goals. Emphasis was placed on developing a strategy to ensure DOE’s compliance with Section 106 for a projected large volume of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funded projects where timing and protocols needed to be consistently applied.

The ACHP and DOE identified a prototype Programmatic Agreement (PA) as the most appropriate program alternative under the ACHP’s regulations, to achieve the goals of establishing a framework for coordinating weatherization reviews. It was understood that while establishing a national model, individual State’s would need the ability to modify the PA to suit the specific needs of a State’s overall agenda for energy retrofitting and weatherization of buildings. NCSHPO provided input in the drafting of the Prototype PA which was distributed in final to SHPOs and State Agencies on February 8, 2010. Among the key efficiencies of the Prototype PA was its inclusion of a template PA that could be executed as drafted by a State grant; exemptions for routine activities with limited potential to affect historic properties from Section 106 review; recognition of executed interagency agreements between the SHPO and the State agencies prior to the distribution of the Prototype PA and provisions that all DOE, SHPO, and State agencies to execute Prototype PAs without ACHP involvement.  With regard to consultation with Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, DOE agreed to develop consultation procedures for those projects that may affect historic properties of religious and cultural significance to Indian tribes.
Since the distribution of the Prototype PA, the Liaison has provided guidance and technical assistance to DOE attorneys, DOE field and project managers, and SHPOs. The Liaison has facilitated two consultation meetings with DOE project officers in 2010 and will continue to identify and provide guidance to the projects officers. As of January 18, 2011, DOE has executed thirty-nine (39) PAs for the OWIP programs, with approximately nineteen (19) additional PAs pending final approval and execution. The Liaison and the DOE will continue to encourage SHPOs and State agencies to use the Prototype PA with the goal of having PAs executed in two-thirds of the States by the end of FY 2010.

While the primary focus on the partnership has been the Prototype PA for the Weatherization programs, there are many opportunities for expansion of the partnership. The Liaison will continue to coordinate individual consultations for OWIP projects determined to result in adverse effects to historic properties. In addition, DOE is involved in the recently established ACHP’s Sustainability Task Force. This initiative will involve a number of initiatives regarding weatherization, sustainability, and historic preservation policies that can be staffed by the Liaison.

The partnership between DOE and the ACHP provides a dedicated staff to collaborate with SHPOs, THPOs, the NTHP, and DOE field and project managers regarding the Section 106 process. Historic preservation is associated with energy and economic development issues such as green construction, sustainability, and solar energy. Having a DOE liaison to monitor these efforts is necessary and valuable.

Programmatic Agreements
Programmatic Agreements provide a streamlined approach for reviewing DOE’s OWIP programs, by providing SHPOs and state recipients efficiencies and protocols to expedite the Section 106 review for projects. Once a State has an executed agreement, that agreement will apply to counties, municipalities, and other local governments receiving grant funds directly from DOE. As of February 1, 2011, 39 states have executed Programmatic Agreements with DOE. For a list of those states and to review the executed PA, use the following link:

The ACHP and DOE are providing a prototype Programmatic Agreement for dealing with historic properties as part of Recovery Act projects.
Press Release (PDF)
Protoype Programmatic Agreement (PDF)

When DOE approves the use of an existing state interagency agreement for Section 106 compliance purposes in lieu of the Prototype PA, DOE, the Recipient State energy agency, and the SHPO must formalize this arrangement by executing an abbreviated PA:
Sample abbreviated Programmatic Agreement (PDF)

Weatherization Programs
The following links provide additional guidance from DOE for the Weatherization programs:

Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs (OWIP)
The following links provide additional guidance and review tools developed by the ACHP for DOE’s Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs (OWIP):

For more information:
ACHP Staff Point of Contact
Lee Webb, DOE Liaison
Phone: 202-606-8583

Posted March 11, 2011

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